Every once in a while, a publication will convince people in sports to speak frankly about something with the promise of anonymity. The idea is to get them to say something they wouldn't otherwise say if their name was attached to it.
Athlon sports is the latest to wade into these waters, offering Pac-12 coaches a chance to speak about their fellow schools. You'll never guess what WSU's opponents had to say about the Cougs!
"People are going to focus on the quarterback situation, but I think that's the least of their worries."
Whoa -- so you're saying the Cougars' biggest area for concern is something other than a position that has been good literally every year of Mike Leach's career except for one? Incisive!
"I hate to say this, but it may have been a blessing in disguise that Connor Halliday got hurt last year because they got a look at the other kid (Luke Falk) and probably have a pretty good idea what they're working with going into the season. I don't really know how good he is, but he threw the ball seventy-something times against Arizona State (45-of-74) so it's not like they tried to hide him."
This is great, since a coach obviously would never call an injury a blessing in disguise with his name attached! Also, has this coach never paid attention to anything Mike Leach does? Since when would Leach ever try and hide a quarterback?
It gets better!
"They bring back their entire offensive line back, and those guys were solid last year. They've got kids in the program now who know the system and what to expect."
Experienced guys are better. Who knew? Conversely, replacing good players with unproven ones is a challenge:
"They're going to need some newcomers to show up ready to play on defense. They had one of the better linemen in the league last year (Xavier Cooper), but he and the nose tackle who was pretty good (Kalafitoni Pole) are both gone, so I'm not sure who they've got in there."
This is really the kind of stuff you only learn as a coach. Speaking of, let's pull back the curtain on strategy:
"With a new defensive coordinator, I think they'll make some changes schematically and look at some guys who maybe didn't play a lot last year."
Wait -- a new coordinator taking over one of the worst units in the conference is going to do things differently with different players? WOW.
"When you play like they do offensively, you've got to cause some havoc with your defense, and they just didn't create a lot of turnovers."
I can't believe nobody mentioned this before! Totally crazy!
C'mon coaches. You can do better than this. But I guess they can't all be Bret Bielema.